Majority of teenage mothers in communities in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts of the Upper East Region have attributed the cause of their pregnancies mainly to the lack of comprehensive sexual education.
This came to light when the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), a Non- Governmental Organization (NGO) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) organized separate sexual reproductive health education at Yagzore and the Sakoti communities in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts to commemorate this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Speaking to the Media at the programme that attracted a number of teenage mothers, out-of-school young people, including girls, boys and women, majority of the victims indicated that if they had acquired comprehensive sexual health education from the school and the home environments at their tender age, they would not have fallen victims to unplanned pregnancies to drop out of school.
Ms Janet Tamwalla, one of the victims from the Yagzore Community who shared her sentiments, said she became pregnant at the age of 16, while in form two in Junior High School and noted that nobody educated her that she could become pregnant at certain periods when she engaged in sex.
“I didn’t have any knowledge in sex education from the school environment, and so it was in the home environment. If I had received education in sexual reproductive health, perhaps I wouldn’t have become pregnant at my tender age and would have completed my education by now”, Ms Tamwalla said.
Ms Linda Ayoka, a Community Health Nurse at the Talensi District Health Directorate, schooled the group on proper menstrual hygiene and also the period within which they could avoid getting pregnant.
She told the group to ensure that they became sexually cleaned, particularly washing of their pants and drying them at a well-ventilated environment before wearing again.
She stressed that most couples often attributed their inability to procreate to witchcraft, but failed to realize that the improper hygiene of their sex organs could lead to infertility.
Ms Ayoka on behalf of the Health Directorate commended the YHFG for partnering the GHS to organize the programme and sharing pads to the participants at the programme, which were donated by staff of YHFG and some individuals.
Ms Christiana Azure, the Community Health Nurse in charge of the Yagzore CHPs compound, admonished married couples to maintain proper menstrual hygiene in order not to infect their family members particularly when preparing meals.
She further advised them to ensure proper disposal of menstrual pads after using them.
Ms Khadija Hamidu, One of the Assistant Project Officers of the Sexual Reproductive Health Education Unit of YHFG, explained that as part of the 2019 Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration, her outfit decided to organize the programmme to empower out-of-school young people with the needed information and skills to enable them make informed decisions to help address early and unintended pregnancies.
She disclosed that demographic and health survey conducted by her outfit showed that 16 percent of girls aged between 15 and 19 years in Ghana had begun having children and noted that the Telensi and Nabdam Districts in the region were among the hardest hit in terms of teenage pregnancies, child and forced marriages with scores of the girls mostly between 14 and 15 years becoming pregnant and dropping out of school and living with men as husbands.